Bigger leader, party is expected to make bigger gesture: Gopalkrishna Gandhi

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New Delhi | Published: August 20, 2018 10:52:59 PM

Former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi said today the bigger leader or party is expected to make the bigger gesture and sacrifice, as he gave a call to all democratic forces to harmonise their strengths and fight bigotry and violence.

Gopalkrishna Gandhi (PTI)

Former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi said today the bigger leader or party is expected to make the bigger gesture and sacrifice, as he gave a call to all democratic forces to harmonise their strengths and fight bigotry and violence. Gandhi, who is Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, was the joint opposition candidate for vice president’s post in the election held in August last year.

Accepting the Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana award or promoting communal harmony and peace, he said, “I envision the democratic parties and movements of India in the wisdom of their dynamism to harmonise their strengths to meet the challenge of harmony’s opposite – suspicion, bigotry and violence.”

He also called upon the civil society to respond to the challenges by defeating what UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi described as divisive power and communal polarisation. “All who are opposed to ‘zabardasti’, to bigotry, to the cult of fear and hate, the centralisation of power, to the nexus of big power and big money, need to work together. That means shedding personal, institutional egos. The larger entity, be it the bigger leader, the bigger party or the larger community is expected to make the larger gesture.

“Obliging the friend by denying the sister or a brother is not easy. It is in fact painful. But as Lal Bahadur Shastri once said ‘desh ke liye jab havan hota hai, tab bade haath ko badi aahuti deni padti hai’,” he said after receiving the award, meaning in English that when there is a ritual sacrifice for the country, the bigger hand has to give the bigger offering.

Talking about the guts Mahatma Gandhi displayed at the time of Independence, he said “harmony also needs guts – non-violent, non-compromising guts in the fight on behalf of the weak, the assaulted, the ghettoised, the despised, the whipped, kicked, lynched and shot at”.

Harmony also needs being together in the face of challenges, as in natural disasters, he noted. He said the floods in Kerala have shaken all, but have also shown the power of spontaneous Sadbhavana, which is India.

“Likewise terror stuns us, the state moves reflexively to stop its destructive power, but so must civil society respond by defeating what Sonia Gandhi described as divisive power and communal polarisation,” he said.

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